University of Exeter outlines COVID-19 measures for new academic year, plans to deliver ‘vast majority’ of teaching in person

Lars Mucklejohn

The University of Exeter has outlined COVID-19 safety measures that students can expect to see when they return to campus for the new academic year in September.

“We have now moved into a different phase of the pandemic”, it noted, and was “hopeful that life can return to something much more normal”.

In accordance with the lifting of all social restrictions in England last month, Exeter previously announced the easing of some of last year’s measures, including making face coverings and social distancing optional on campus, though still strongly expected.

The university will continue measures such as enhanced cleaning, sanitiser points, supplying face coverings and tests, and supporting students and staff self-isolating.

It plans to restart in-person activities and services on campus, including student support, library services, study spaces, retail and catering outlets, and sports facilities, alongside campus tours, open days, and other student events. All on-campus events will require a COVID-19 risk assessment.

Most study spaces on Penryn Campus will be available without the need to book. Group study rooms and some quiet study spaces in the library will be available to book online.

Plans for Freshers’ Week are currently being finalised, and the university has said that there will be “lots for you to get involved with in person and online”. Students are advised to check the SU’s website and Welcome 2021 page for the latest developments.

The university has said that it “will deliver the vast majority of your teaching face-to-face on our campuses, with personal academic support”.

In response to feedback, the university “will be taking some of the best aspects of online, flexible learning” to support in-person teaching, including ensuring that lecture material is made available online.

Professor Tim Quine, deputy vice-chancellor (education), will announce further details on the university’s teaching plans soon.

NHS pop-up vaccination clinics will be provided for Penryn Campus. The university has confirmed that one will be open on Wednesday, 15 September from 10am-6pm and another on Wednesday, 23 September from 10am-6pm, both outside the Stannary. Further dates for pop-up clinics are planned for September and October.

On behalf of the NHS, Exeter is requesting that students complete an anonymous questionnaire on their vaccination status before arriving at university. The university recommends that students get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Exeter has recommended that students get tested for COVID-19 before and after travelling to university and twice a week while there, alongside regular hand-washing, wearing face coverings indoors, ensuring appropriate ventilation, isolating if necessary, and booking a test via the Rapid Response Hub if experiencing symptoms.

The university will give further COVID-19 updates “over the coming weeks”.